News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 28, 2013
Revised site plan ordinance for Brooklin goes to voters

by Rich Hewitt

Voters at the annual town meeting next week will be asked to approve a revised site plan review ordinance.

The plan was last amended in 1999 and a year ago, the planning board began the process of revising the plan to conform with changes at the state level, according to Planning Board Chairman Catherine Rees.

Working with a model ordinance from the state, Rees said, the board incorporated details from the existing ordinance and the comprehensive plan. Although the revised ordinance, at 27 pages, is three times longer than the original, Rees said it includes no major changes in what is allowed in town.

“It’s all quite similar,” she said. “The major difference is that the standards for commercial and multiple residence development are spelled out much better.”

“This gives us and the applicant much better guidelines and a better check list of standards when it comes down to making a decision,” Rees said. “It helps us to treat all applications the same.”

The revised ordinance also brings those standards in line with other town ordinances. Jon Hopkins noted, for example, that the revised site plan review ordinance adopts the same noise standards that are set in the recently adopted wind turbine ordinance.

The revised ordinance also establishes a requirement that an application be submitted at least two weeks before it goes before the planning board for a determination of its completeness. That ensures that board members have time to review the application before the meeting.

The ordinance also includes the opportunity for a pre-application meeting with the board prior to the formal submission of the application. Although the pre-app meeting is not required, it would allow the board to meet with the applicant to get everyone on board with what is being planned. It also provides a chance to discuss the relevant standards that the applicant will need to address.